Title: How to write a Policy Brief
Keywords: Public Health
Health Policy (incl. advocacy)
Evidence based medicine
Communication (oral, written)
Country: Morocco
Institution: Morocco - École Nationale de Santé Publique
Course coordinator: Dr. Zakaria Belrhiti
Date start: 2021-07-06
Date end: 2021-07-23
About duration and dates: 3 weeks (includes pre reading time, face to face, personal assignments) July 6 till 23third
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Ecole Nationale de Santé Publique, Rabat, Morocco
ECTS credit points: 4 ECTS credits
SIT: 46 contact hours + 80 self-study hours = 126 hours SIT
Language: French
English
Description: At the end of the course the participants should be able to:
1. Identify the different steps of evidence informed policy making
2. Search for scientific and contextual evidence
3. Assess the quality of evidence and its relevance for decision makers.
4. Formulate relevant recommendations for decision makers
5. Write up and communicate a policy brief.
Assessment Procedures: Assessment will be based on an individual written assignment “policy brief”. The participant needs to write a well-structured and coherent policy brief in a specific topic relevant to participant own health system context. The individual assignments uploaded in Moodle Platform will be assessed for their originality.

To do so participants need to develop the following competencies:

1. Examine the processes of evidence informed policy making in the own context of participants
2. Search systematically for evidence :
2.1 Formulate a review question
2.2 Identify relevant body of evidence depending on the nature of the review question
3. Assess the quality of evidence using appropriate checklists.

4. Write up a the three key components of a policy brief :

• 4.1.Describe the magnitude and consequences of a public health issue
• 4.2. Compare adequate alternative solutions to the public health problem
• 4.3 Identify potential enablers and barriers that may facilitate/hinder the implementation process and explain how to address them.

Assessment Criteria

The students will be assessed on the quality, coherence, relevance and comprehensiveness of the policy brief document handed out at the end of the course. The assessment use the following weights:

● Quality of the gathered evidence (30%)
● Contextual relevance of the recommendations (30%)
● Coherence and sound argumentation (30%)
● Overall quality and visual clarify of the policy brief (10%)

Students will get short feedback during coaching sessions. In each session, the lecturer will be providing feedback on the the quality, soundness and relevance of the different components of the policy brief.

During the first coaching session will assess how the student has described he magnitude and consequences of a public health issue, the clarity, conciseness, underlying evidence used to describe the public health problem.

During the second coaching session students will be given feedback on the quality, soundness and relevance of the suggested solutions (or health policies) that tackle the public health problem.

During the third coaching session, feed back will be given on the quality of contextualisation of proposed solutions taking into consideration the potential enablers and barriers to the implementation of selected health policies.

An assessment grid will be used for marking and feedback

Re-sit sessions

Participants who did not obtain the pass mark of 50% (10/20) for the overall assessment mark for the module in the first assessment session, get the possibility to present a revised version of the assignment(s) in a second (re-sit) session.
Content: The content of the course is divided into 4 interconnected blocks that will allow the student to draft an evidence informed policy brief.

1. An Introduction to evidence informed decision making (SIT 10 hours)
2. Systematic literature search (SIT:10 hours)
3. Quality appraisal ( 10 SIT)
4. Writing up the three components of a policy brief
4.1 Describing a public health issue for a policy audience (SIT : 32 hours)
4.2 Comparing alternative health policies /interventions (SIT= 32 hours)
4.3 Identifying and addressing potential implementation facilitators/barriers (SIT =32 hours)

The first block provide participants with an overview of the importance of evidence informed decision making and the process of policy making in public health. Then, it introduces the policy brief tool as a way to bridge the gap between research and policy.

During the second block, the participant will get an overview of the systematic process of searching the literature using appropriate search terms structured around a review question.

During the third block the student will be able to assess the quality of gathered evidence using appropriate standardised checklists

During the fourth block the student will be able to write up a sound policy brief that comprises three essential activities :

4.1 Description of the magnitude and relevance of a public health problem for an audience of policy makers.

4.2 Comparison between different public health interventions or policies. This imply accurate description of interventions (effectiveness, cost, cost effectiveness, unintended consequences, acceptability and potential contextual adaptations).

4.3 Identification of plausible policy implementation gaps and providing policy makers with strategies to address them.

During this course, concepts and toolbox will be introduced to students with short and focused lectures, videos, case studies and classroom discussion.

In short, this course aim at fostering the critical analysis capacities of students and to help them search efficiently of high-quality evidence, clarify public health issues, identify relevant options, formulate policy relevant recommendations to inform and engage with policymakers in health.
Methods: I use interactive teaching and lectures. I provide participants with relevant reading material (20 hrs). I also rely on peer mentoring and experiential learning through an exchange of participants experiences during coaching sessions (6 hours). and face to face lectures.

During the lecture, students are asked to discuss illustrations from real world public health policy making cases in LMIC. Besides face to face lecture, three coaching sessions are organised to help the student write the three major components of the policy brief.

In case of online mode, webinars and synchronous coaching sessions are organised. Student are encouraged to use discussion forums on Moodle platform, videos as well as examples of policy brief from Low and middle-income countries to enrich the participant’s learning and self-reflective processes.

SIT comprises 46 contact hours includes lectures (4hours a day) during two weeks + 3 coaching sessions of 2 hours each) and 80 hours of self-study are needed to complete the required learning outputs and reading additional material.
Prerequisites: Academic degree

Applicants must hold a university degree of minimum 4 years equivalent to 240 ECTS (referred to as a Master’s degree in the European Union) in medicine or health sciences.
Experience
1 year of cumulative experience as health professional is needed.
Language proficiency

French version (native speakers are exempt from proof of language proficiency, for non native French speakers, upper intermediate B2 level (CEFRL).

English version: proof of English proficiency will be required for non-native English speakers, if relevant we might need proof of english proficiency (Toefl 88 internet version or IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)
Native English speakers and students who hold an english education diploma are exempt from these tests.

No additional language requirements are needed.
Additional admission requirement:
1 year of cumulative experience in public health is needed
Computer, connection to internet and office software are essential to ensure adequate
Attendance: min 15 -max.20 students
Selection: Selection criteria
● 1 year cumulative professional experience in public health
● Motivation
● References
● Relevant additional training. a degree of master’s in public health or equivalent is an asset
Fees: For 2021 course: 5500 Moroccan Dirhams
tropEd accreditation: Accreditation Online GA October 2020: cat. 2
Telco 12 Nov 2020: cat 1
Remarks: Key Didactic References:

BELRHITI, Z., BOOTH, A., MARCHAL, B. & VERSTRAETEN, R. 2016. To what extent do site-based training, mentoring, and operational research improve district health system management and leadership in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 5, 70.
FRETHEIM, A., MUNABI-BABIGUMIRA, S., OXMAN, A. D., LAVIS, J. N. & LEWIN, S. 2009a. SUPPORT Tools for Evidence-informed policymaking in health 6: Using research evidence to address how an option will be implemented. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S6.
FRETHEIM, A., OXMAN, A. D., LAVIS, J. N. & LEWIN, S. 2009b. SUPPORT Tools for Evidence-informed policymaking in health 18: Planning monitoring and evaluation of policies. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S18.
LAVIS, J. N., BOYKO, J. A., OXMAN, A. D., LEWIN, S. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009a. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 14: Organising and using policy dialogues to support evidence-informed policymaking. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S14.
LAVIS, J. N., OXMAN, A. D., GRIMSHAW, J., JOHANSEN, M., BOYKO, J. A., LEWIN, S. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009b. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 7: Finding systematic reviews. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S7.
LAVIS, J. N., OXMAN, A. D., SOUZA, N. M., LEWIN, S., GRUEN, R. L. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009c. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 9: Assessing the applicability of the findings of a systematic review. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S9.
LAVIS, J. N., PERMANAND, G., OXMAN, A. D., LEWIN, S. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009d. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 13: Preparing and using policy briefs to support evidence-informed policymaking. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S13.
LAVIS, J. N., WILSON, M. G., OXMAN, A. D., GRIMSHAW, J., LEWIN, S. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009e. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 5: Using research evidence to frame options to address a problem. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S5.
LAVIS, J. N., WILSON, M. G., OXMAN, A. D., LEWIN, S. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009f. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 4: Using research evidence to clarify a problem. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S4.
LEWIN, S., OXMAN, A. D., LAVIS, J. N. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009a. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 8: Deciding how much confidence to place in a systematic review. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S8.
LEWIN, S., OXMAN, A. D., LAVIS, J. N., FRETHEIM, A., MARTI, S. & MUNABI-BABIGUMIRA, S. 2009b. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed Policymaking in health 11: Finding and using evidence about local conditions. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S11.
OXMAN, A. D., FRETHEIM, A., LAVIS, J. N. & LEWIN, S. 2009a. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 12: Finding and using research evidence about resource use and costs. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S12.
OXMAN, A. D., LAVIS, J. N., FRETHEIM, A. & LEWIN, S. 2009b. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 16: Using research evidence in balancing the pros and cons of policies. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S16.
OXMAN, A. D., LAVIS, J. N., FRETHEIM, A. & LEWIN, S. 2009c. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 17: Dealing with insufficient research evidence. Health Research Policy and Systems, 7, S17.
OXMAN, A. D., LAVIS, J. N., LEWIN, S. & FRETHEIM, A. 2009d. SUPPORT Tools for evidence-informed health Policymaking (STP) 1: What is evidence-informed policymaking? Health Research Policy and Systems, 7.
VARGAS, E., BECERRIL-MONTEKIO, V., GONZALEZ-BLOCK, M. A., AKWEONGO, P., HAZEL, C. N., CUEMBELO MDE, F., LIMBANI, F., BERNARDO, W. & MUNOZ, F. 2016. Mapping the use of research to support strategies tackling maternal and child health inequities: evidence from six countries in Africa and Latin America. Health Res Policy Syst, 14, 1.
Date Of Record Creation: 2020-11-17 10:33:35 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2020-11-18 10:01:02 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2020-11-17 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2020-12-18 11:07:56 (W3C-DTF)

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